When your child is starting elementary school, you’ll want him or her to enjoy school successes to the fullness of his or her ability—and one of the best ways to make that happen is to “foster a joy of learning.”
According to PsychologyToday.com, fostering this joy and bolstering your child’s confidence and self-esteem is an excellent way to create a foundation for success.
When you have a positive attitude about school, your child will develop a similar attitude. And, when you share your own love of learning, perhaps by taking your child to libraries, museums and the like, this will further help your child to succeed in elementary school.
Praise your child for accomplishments and avoid pressuring him or her for specific results. Encourage your child to develop good learning habits and then do the best he or she can. If your child gets a poor grade, talk about what happened and ask for ideas about what can help in the future. It may be that your child didn’t study enough. Or it may be that he or she needs a tutor. Explore what happened and brainstorm solutions together to create incremental school successes.
Also analyze your own feelings about school. If you had a parent who became angry when you didn’t do well in a class, for example, what reaction would have been more helpful to you? Armed with this knowledge, how can you be more supportive of your own child?
Focus on Language Skills
A study reported on in ScienceDaily.com that focused on kindergarten readiness concluded that language skills are crucial for academics, social interaction and more. So, if you help your child bolster his or her language skills, you will likely notice benefits in other areas of your child’s education, as well.
This study describes language as the ability to “deploy” words and “use complex syntax and grammar to communicate in speech and writing” and states that attention on language development is as important as math and science.
Although this study focused on kindergarten, language development is also clearly a crucial component in helping children succeed in elementary school.
Nuts and Bolts Suggestions
Finally, Akron Children’s Hospital offers ten practical suggestions for helping your child in elementary school, including your participation in parent teacher conferences and events. This often starts with a more informal back to school night where you might learn about school policies, tour the classroom and meet the teacher. Then, the parent teacher conferences allow you to discuss your child’s progress one-on-one and talk about strategies to bring out the best in your unique child.
Something that’s easy to overlook is the development of organizational skills in your child. For some children, organization comes fairly naturally while, for others, it’s a real challenge. No matter where your child falls on this spectrum, help him or her to develop a plan to keep homework organized, to monitor deadlines, to keep what’s needed for school in a specific place and so forth. Also teach your child how to create a to-do list and appropriately prioritize what’s on that list. As Akron Children’s Hospital points out, nobody is born knowing how to do this!
Teaching organizational skills also dovetails nicely with helping your child to develop effective learning habits. Show your child how to take a bigger project, for example, and break it down into smaller, achievable parts. Help him or her prioritize components of studying and to get competent at pacing and taking breaks when appropriate. A healthy snack break can do wonders.
Make good attendance a priority in your household, as well as being on time. Get involved with your child’s classroom, attending school events, helping with fundraisers, chaperoning field trips, reading a story to the class and so forth. Not everything will fit your schedule, but something should.